To Sleeve or Not to Sleeve

‘Most women after a certain age like to cover up their arms’ said the dress shop owner when I called in to her shop. I also read a magazine article where the writer entered a dress shop and the assistant told here that ‘her arms had turned (I am still having fun imagining what that means) and it was time for her to cover them up’. Both of these got me thinking.

As women we can spend a lot of money on all sorts of products and procedures that cater to the manufactured or real fears that once we reach 40, we will start to become part of a disappearing and irrelevant group. We are told we must do everything we can to avoid showing the natural signs of aging – wrinkles, lines, cellulite and grey hair.

Utter rubbish!

Do you want to buy into this lie that you must now cover up your arms?

If you do, you will severely limit your choice of clothes to the dowdy styles that retailers think are acceptable for women over 40. Add to that feelings of anger, frustration and depression and you will sink into a disappearing generation.

If you do not want to buy into this lie, then it is time to remember, learn and apply some smart dressing tips and seek out those retailers who celebrate women of all ages.

Going Sleeveless

Yes you can! Here is how. It is the oldest trick in the book. Divert their attention elsewhere. Choose a lovely modern sleeveless top – one that leaves some skin space below your neck. Crossover tops are great or any interesting neckline shape. Then add a beautiful, interesting accessory – scarf, necklace, earrings or brooch. Dainty and small will not work. It must be large enough to divert their attention from your arms to your face. People will admire your style and confidence because they always see that before your so-called faults.

How to Make Short Sleeves Work for You

If you’re not totally happy wearing sleeveless tops, look for tops and dresses with a little cap sleeve. It is a tiny half sleeve that just covers the very top of your arms. They are not that common and that makes them look smart and modern. Another alternative is to recycle your sleeveless tops and wear them as a modern vest over shirts, t-shirts and dresses.

What Sleeve Lengths to Be Wary Of

These are sleeves that end in line with either the fullest part of your bust or in line with your waist. If you have a small bust, sleeves that end in line with them will make your bust look larger when you stand still. If you have a large bust, you may not want to make them look even larger. So for you, either cut them a little shorter or make them longer.

Sleeves that end in line with your waist (ie elbow length) can make your waist look bigger especially if the top, jacket or dress is a boxy shape. Take the sleeves up, make them narrower or add a frill or false hem to make them longer.

Magic Sleeve Length

It is the ¾ length sleeve. This is magic because it covers your perceived ‘arm faults’. Wrinkles appear last just above the wrist and this length covers wrinkles and batwings. You are not covering up totally, which means you are perceived as confident and young in attitude. Lastly the length is not all that common; so you look different and stylish.

Remember! How you feel about parts of your body is NOT what others see or concentrate on. They are attracted to your self-confidence. Mix up your sleeve lengths. Wear what looks great on you and what fits with your natural personality. Your confidence will shine through.

(Article sent to subscribers of ‘The Fashion Translator eZine on 18 October, 2010. Click here to sign up for The Fashion Translator eZine.)

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